Lemlem Hailu' wins Gold Girls 1500M race – IAAF World Under 18 Championships Nairobi 2017 Day 3


Few athletes will have faced such an intimidating atmosphere as young Ethiopian pair Lemlem Hailu and Sindu Girma, who entered the Kasarani Stadium on Saturday evening to the sound of a near-capacity crowd screaming for their Kenyan rivals.

But the joy of wading into rival territory is that there is little to no pressure or expectation involved, and in the girls’ 1500m final they ran supremely, sweeping to a 1-2 in a last-lap burn-up and spoiling the party for the hosts.

The early pace had been slow, the field passing 400m in a pedestrian 1:13.21 with South Africa’s Nicole Louw leading the way, and the second lap was almost identical, with the field passing 800m bunched together in 2:26.43. By then Kenya’s Edina Jebitok was looming towards the front, seemingly preparing for an early strike, but it would only be the sound of the bell that coaxed her to the front some 300 metres later.

By the time she passed 1200m in 3:35.69, Jebitok was burning all cylinders at the front, trying desperately to shake the presence of Hailu and Girma, who dogged her slipstream on every step. Approaching the final turn they bolted past, and despite close to 50,000 fans screaming their support, Jebitok had no response.

Hailu continued to accelerate down the home straight, breaking the virtual tape in 4:20.80, her last 300m a swift 45.00. "I was sure of winning coming into this race so I just kept my focus," said Hailu. "I'm very happy to have won Ethiopia a second gold medal."

Her teammate Girma came through strongly for second in 4:22.14. "I expected stiff competition from Kenya in this race," she said. "I had prepared well and I'm happy with the silver medal."

Jebitok was resilient in third, reaching the finish in 4:23.16 despite struggling with injury. "I was poised for a win but I felt pain in my left leg and I couldn't gather enough energy to push me through. I am not impressed. I should have won gold at home."

Rachel Nzangi of Kenya came home a disconsolate fourth in 4:24.70, while it was a long way back to early leader Nicole Louw of South Africa, who claimed fifth in 4:33.40.

Boys' high Jump – Breyton Poole SA emerges World leader with a 2.24m jump IAAF Wu18 Championship,


World U18 leader Breyton Poole produced one of the most captivating displays of the championships to win the high jump title in Nairobi, the 1.72m tall jumper improving on his personal best three times.

Poole did not have a very good start as he found himself behind on countback for much of the competition, but in the end he asserted his dominance, clearing a height 10 centimetres above anyone else to achieve the biggest winning margin in the history of the championships.

In a high-quality competition with the top six all setting personal bests, Chima Ihenetu of Germany was the runner-up with 2.14m, while Vladyslav Lavskyy of Ukraine took the bronze on countback with 2.11m.

Ihenetu cleared the 2.11m, a personal best by three centimetres, on his second attempt to find himself in third. Poland's Piotr Sztandur and Shaun Miller of The Bahamas were in fourth and fifth after third-time clearances.

Of all entrants in the competition, none besides Poole had previously cleared higher than 2.10m. It thus came as a major surprise when five of the seven jumpers attacking 2.11m cleared the height.

Lavskyy, who entered the competition with a personal best of just 2.06m, was the leader of the competition at this point, the only jumper with a clean slate after taking his best to 2.07m and then 2.11m. Poole also cleared 2.11m on his first attempt, but had previously had a failure at 2.02m.

The next height of 2.14m proved too much for three of the five. Poole, unsurprisingly, went over the bar on his first jump, but just a couple of minutes later so did Ihenetu, now going six centimetres above his previous career best. The two were now tied for the lead, as Lavskyy was assured of getting the bronze.

The competition was effectively decided at 2.16m. The South African needed two attempts this time, but he did clear, while the German took just one jump before passing to 2.18m.

That height proved too much for Ihenetu. His rival watched from the sidelines as the German took the remaining two jumps without getting close to clearing the bar.

The title was now decided. But it was far from over. Poole ordered the bar be raised to 2.20m and once again cleared that on the second try. Then came a first-time clearance at 2.22m. And after that, the bar was raised by another two centimetres.

Poole would have been justified in feeling tired by now, but he did not give up. He failed twice, but then sailed over the bar on what was his 14th jump of the competition.

It was not until 2.27m, a height that would have equalled the championship record, that he had to bow out with three failed attempts.

Breyton is the second South African to win the world U18 title in the event, following in the footsteps of Jacques Freitag, the winner of the inaugural edition of the championships in 1999, who went on to take the world senior title in 2003.

Sokwakhana Zazini,SA lifts the boys' 400M hurdles title – IAAF World u18 Championship


Pre-race favourite Sokwakhana Zazini hit it hard from the start, dominating the boys' 400m hurdles final with a spectacular performance at the IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017 on Saturday night.

Holding the world youth best of 48.84, which he set back in March, Zazini went unchallenged and stormed across the line in 49.27, the third-fastest time in World U18 Championships history.

He finished well clear of Kenya's Moitalel Naadokila who grabbed the silver medal in a personal best of 52.06 to the delight of a large home crowd.

Baptiste Christophe of France took bronze in 52.21, and he too set a career record to earn his place on the podium.

“I feel great because I've really been looking forward to this moment, and now it has come. I'm really happy,” Zazini said.

"It didn't go exactly as planned because I had to change (my lead leg) but I couldn't. I don't know what happened.

"I wanted to break the world best again, but it's fine. I'll take it."

China's Niu Chunge racks Up a flawless victory in Girls' Pole Vault– IAAF World U18


Niu Chunge of China racked up a flawless series in the final to win the girls' pole vault gold medal on Saturday evening at the IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017.

Niu cleared six heights in succession with her first attempts, clinching the title with a personal best of 4.20m and adding five centimetres to her previous career record to become China’s first world U18 champion in the event.

Lifting the bar to 4.30m, with the gold already in the bag, she was unable to make it over, but she had done enough.

Germany's Leni Wildgrube put up a fight for the top spot on the podium, successfully clearing 4.15m with her maiden attempt, but she was unable to match Niu's 4.20m effort and settled for the silver medal.

Anna Airault of France was unable to get over 4.15m or 4.20m, after carrying two of her attempts over, and she earned bronze with a 4.10m performance.

Six of the eight athletes in the line-up achieved personal bests, including all three medallists, with the pole vault contested as a straight final.

Jordan Diaz sets world record in Boys triple jump Iaaf world-u18 championships nairobi 2017


The first world U18 best of the championships was set today when Jordan Diaz of Cuba reached an incredible 17.30m in the fourth round of the boys' triple jump final, having set a championship record of 17.00m on his previous jump.

“I am very happy to have set the record here in Nairobi,” the elated Cuban said after the final. “I also thank my parents for their support. The crowd cheered me on, which was a great feeling.”

Diaz's mark erased the old best of 17.24m, set by his compatriot Lazaro Martinez in 2014. The 16-year old, who will still be eligible for U18 competition in 2018, improved his pre-competition best by 64 centimetres and moved to seventh on the 2017 world senior list.

In a closely fought battle for the other medals, South American U18 champion Frixon David Chilla of Ecuador took the silver with a personal best of 15.92m. Just behind him, Arnovis de Jesus Palmero of Colombia took bronze with 15.89m, also a personal best, with Yusniel Jorrin of Cuba a mere centimetre behind.

Diaz took control right from the start, with his 15.99m the best jump in round one by nearly half a metre. He went better on his second attempt, reaching 16.25m. By that point, everyone else would have needed a big personal best to get close.

But as it turned out, that was only the start. In the third round, Diaz executed much better technically and as soon as he landed, the spectators knew they had witnessed something special. And then the result flashed up on the board: 17.00m. The Cuban thus became not just the championship record holder, but also the second U18 athlete ever to reach the 17-metre barrier.

As Diaz stood up on the runway for his fourth jump, there was an air of excitement among the audience. Could he go even farther?

That question was answered in emphatic manner. The stadium exploded as Diaz landed well beyond the 17-metre line. And then exploded again when the distance was announced as 17.30m. The first world U18 best of these championships had just been set.

It must have been difficult to focus again after such a fantastic performance, so it was no surprise that Diaz passed on his next jump and fouled on his last.

Behind the Cuban, there was a hot battle going on for the other medals, starring the remaining Latin American jumpers. After Chilla had reached 15.50m in the first round, then Arnovis Dalmero overtook him with 15.52m in round two, before Cuba's No.2 Yusniel Jorrin jumped 15.57m.

On their third attempts, there was more change. Chilla, first in the jumping order, had a big one of 15.81m, re-taking the runner-up spot, but not for long. Dalmero responded with 15.89m, his best ever by a quarter of a metre.

Jorrin had a big foul in that round, but he made up for it on his next attempt. A jump of 15.88m moved him once again into the medals.

But again, it didn’t last long. In the fifth round, the Ecuadorian improved yet again, this time to a personal best of 15.92m.

There was no change to the medal order in the final round, although Jorrin had another good effort just short of what was necessary to make the podium. It was measured at 15.87m, just two centimetres away from a medal.

Owayne Owens of Jamaica finished in fifth with a last-round 15.55m. And there was the unusual sight of an Ethiopian placing well in a jumping event, as Adir Gur took sixth with 15.42m.

George Manangoi fires the home crowd to wins Boys 1500m, World U18 championship Nairobi


Kenyan middle-distance runner George Manangoi had the lively home crowd on its feet today evening as he stormed to victory in the boys' 1500m final in the afternoon session at the IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017.

After setting off at a relatively slow pace, the Ethiopian duo of Belete Mekonen and Abebe Dessassa took control of the pack in the early stages, but they seemed in no hurry and Mekonen led them through 800 metres in 2:07.58.

They eventually switched gears at the bell, launching a lengthy drive for the line in an effort to shake off a bunched field, but they were made to pay for their tactical approach.

Having sat back and played a waiting game, Manangoi, younger brother of world silver medallist Elijah Manangoi, was rewarded for his patience, drawing clear down the finishing straight to earn gold in 3:47.53.

Algeria’s Oussama Cherrad also produced a strong kick to take second place but he was later disqualified for obstructing an opponent.

Dessassa was elevated to second position, taking the silver medal in a personal best of 3:48.65.

Mekonen, who had entered the race with the fastest career best in the line-up (3:39.86), held on to take the bronze medal in 3:50.64.

Kenya’s Dominic Kipkemboi was a non-starter for the final, having appeared to have picked up an injury after winning his heat two days prior.

Liu Zhekai spectacular throw earns China its first World U18 title , Nairobi 2017 Wu18


Liu Zhekai was the decisive winner of the boys' javelin with a personal best of 77.54m, becoming the first Chinese boy to win a world U18 title in the event.

Leading from round one, the Chinese thrower backed up his best with 76.96m, the second longest throw of the evening, and another solid attempt measured at 75.23m.

Johannes Schlebusch of South Africa took the silver with a last-round throw of 75.68m, and Song Qingshu made it two medals for China with 73.64m, also saving his best for the last round.

The competition started off well, with three boys throwing beyond the 70-metre line in round one. Liu was the early lead with 73.32m, ahead of Schlebusch's 72.31m, with the Polish world U18 leader Dawid Wegner in third with 70.56m.

The decisive moment came in round two. Liu sent the spear flying to 77.54m, which proved to be a distance none of his rivals could match on the day.

In round three, Schlebusch improved marginally to 72.61m, but otherwise, there was no change in the top positions for the majority of the final. It was only in the penultimate round that the competition was re-ignited.

First, Song Qingshu, down in fifth at that point, had an excellent throw of 70.64m to move into the medals, overtaking Wegner by just eight centimetres. Then Schlebusch improved his best to 74.00m, which in turn motivated the leader to get close to his best with 76.96m.

The order did not change in the final round, but that did not mean there was no excitement. The silver and bronze medallists both improved again. Song added exactly three metres to his best and Schlebusch threw a PB of 75.68m, moving to within two metres of the winner.

Liu ended the competition with a foul, but that took nothing away from the overall quality of his performance, or the winner's joy.

Jaza Kasa, President Uhuru Declares Nairobi 2017 WU18 Championship Open on all days


Even the subsequent torrential downpour that caused major disruptions to the programme could not dampen the sense of occasion as Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta declared the Nairobi 2017 IAAF World Under 18 (WU18) Championships open.

The Head of State gave his citizens the gift of attending the biggest track and field event ever hosted in Kenya free of charge as he officially welcomed competitors from over 129 nations who are bidding for a slice of history.

“This occasion is a very special one for me personally and for the Kenyan people. Sports, as you all know, occupy a unique place in our society.

“Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to say, Kenya has been a major player in international sports and I assure you that in Kenya, you will find many enthusiastic sports’ fans,” the Kenyan leader said on Wednesday afternoon.

President Uhuru arrived at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani a few minutes past 4pm local time (+3GMT) and barely half an hour left to the start of the first event of the afternoon, the closing ceremony had to be cut short to keep the schedule running on time.

There was no customary team’s match past, firework, dances and other pomp and flair that ushers in such events.

Ethiopia's Abersh Minsewo seals victory with a kiss, kenyan Emmaculate Chepkirui wins silver


Kenyans love their distance running, and so the women's 3000m final on Wednesday night was a race we badly wanted to win. With 100m to run, it looked like we were about to be granted our wish if only our leading lady Emmaculate Chepkirui had could hold onto the lead. Unfortunately she had company, unwanted company, in the form of Ethiopia's Abersh Minsewo, who drew alongside in a party-pooping manner of police showing up to a 21st birthday party. Arrested by fatigue, Chepkirui could offer nothing in response over the final metres, and the Ethiopian lady forged her way past for a memorable victory in 9:24.62, just 0.07 ahead of Chepkirui. Afterwards she knelt to kiss the track, a loving thank you for her finest hour.

Kenya's Manangoi and kipkemboi send a message to world by giving impressive perfomances


Kenyans sent a strong message to the rest of the world with impressive performances as the IAAF World Under-18 Championships began at Kasarani Stadium yesterday.

Dominic Kipkemboi and George Manangoi laid down the marker with dominant displays in the boys’ 1,500m, finishing strong to confirm their rising status in a race Kenya has dominated over the years.

Front-running Kipkemboi, who opened a 40-metre lead at the bell, caused some panic in the stadium when he started limping in the 100m homestretch as Algerian Oussama Cherrad charged behind him.

Kipkemboi however held on to win the race in a personal best of 3:48.77, beating Cherrad (3:48.98) in heat one and booking a slot in Friday's final.
Ethiopian Abebe Dessassa stopped the clock in 3:49.58 to finish third.
Manangoi, featuring in heat two, also did what he was expected to as he easily won the race in 3:55.00. Ethiopia’s Belete Makonen (3:56.1) finished second while Ugandan Daniel Kiprop registered 3:58.68 for third place.

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